Reader mailbag: Steinbrenner and Monument Park

I got this email while on vacation, but I wanted to address it as it touches a few sensitive issues:

You mentioned Steinbrenner’s inclusion in monument park was “strange” on 8/24. That got me thinking about his legacy as a baseball man only. His main accomplishments are, of course, the championships. How could they not be? However, those championships were created in a large part to homegrown players: Jeter, Mo, Pettitte in the ’90’s and Munson (and others) in the 70’s. These players were “grown” during the two periods Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball and he could not (or was not allowed) to be involved. Just wondering your general thoughts on whether his actual baseball knowledge added to the championships and whether that merits his statue.

– Mike Sweeney

First of all, that posting was done by Brien but that’s only housekeeping.

The larger question is: Who deserves a monument and where do you draw the line? This is, of course, and exercise bound to offend the non-Yanks fans among us who view this as overly self-congratulatory. Yogi Berra, one of the best catchers of all time, a 3-time MVP and owner of 10 World Series rings, does not have a monument. Miller Huggins, legendary manager from the early years, does. With all due respect, if we were building Monument Park TODAY from scratch, Huggins would not have a monument. But he was the first one to be given a monument upon his premature death, so he’s there.

There are five monuments dedicated to individuals, plus one in rememberance of the 9/11 attacks and the victims. The five monuments, in order of dedication:

  1. Miller Huggins, 5/30/32
  2. Lou Gehrig, 7/6/41
  3. Babe Ruth, 4/19/49
  4. Mickey Mantle, 8/25/96 (plaque awarded 6/8/69)
  5. Joe DiMaggio, 4/25/99 (plaque awarded 6/8/69)

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Off Topic: Bloggers vs. Reporters. Again.

This isn’t a topic that’s really related to baseball specifically, it’s more of a general look at the sports and baseball media at large. But, I think it’s safe to presume that most of the people reading this site consume a disproportionate amount of baseball related media, and it’s obviously relevant to what we do here.

If you missed it yesterday, Mike Wise of The Washington Post kicked off a controversy when he tweeted that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would have his suspension reduced from 6 games to 5, according to “sources.” After a while of being questioned about his sources, Wise eventually had to admit he made it up, but concocted some story about how it was some elaborate experiment to prove that people on the internet will “print anything.” He specifically singled out Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio and Craig at Hardball Talk both have pretty good takes on the situation. Continue reading Off Topic: Bloggers vs. Reporters. Again.

Does Javy Have His Groove Back?

Javier Vazquez looked incredibly sharp in last night’s relief appearance, going 4.2 innings while allowing one run on two hits and 6 strikeouts. He looked sharper than he had since August started, and credited the change to a mechanical tweak made by Dave Eiland: There is a slight mechanical adjustment that seems to be helping Vazquez’s fastball. When he lifts his left leg in his delivery, Vazquez is bringing the leg farther back. It’s not more of a twist, he said, and the leg’s not coming up any higher, it’s just coming a little farther back toward second base. “The Continue reading Does Javy Have His Groove Back?

Yanks batter Cahill, A's to the tune of 11-5

Not to toot our own horns, but prior to tonight’s game both MJR and I had a feeling the Yankees would end up getting to Trevor Cahill, after Matt of Matt on Earth fame expressed some consternation over the team having to face the pitcher with the second-lowest ERA in the American League. Matt: “I’m not sure which is more unsettling — Cahill tonight, or a pitcher we haven’t seen all year. Sigh.” MJR: “The Yanks knocked Cahill around when we faced him in Oakland. Hopefully he hasn’t adjusted.” Larry: “I’m not sold on Cahill. I can only imagine I’ll Continue reading Yanks batter Cahill, A's to the tune of 11-5

Game 131: Athletics 5, Yankees 11

Back in the Bronx, the Yankees wasted little time continuing their winning ways.  Despite finding themselves in a deep hole early, the Yankees battled back and pounded the Athletics’ pitching.  Behind big hits from Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Marcus Thames and Robinson Cano, the Yankees took an 11-5 victory over Oakland to start off their homestand.

The first inning saw a lot of action, as Coco Crisp singled to start off the game.  Daric Barton singled to left and Kurt Suzuki worked a walk to load the bases with no outs.  Jack Cust hit a sac fly to left, scoring Crisp.  Kevin Kouzmanoff struck out, but Dustin Moseley walked Mark Ellis to load the bases again.  Jeff Larish singled to center, scoring Barton and Suzuki to give the Athletics an quick 3-0 lead.

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An opportunity

After finishing off a series win against the Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field, the Yankees traveled home last night to prepare for a homestand beginning this evening.  First, the club will take on Oakland in a four-game series.  The pitching matchups are as follows: Monday, 7 pm EST – Trevor Cahill v. Dustin Moseley.  Cahill is the anomaly of the year with a .217 BABIP and a FIP almost a run and a half lower than his ERA this year.  Dave Cameron outlined the issues surrounding his BABIP at Fangraphs a week ago, and it’s worth a read. Continue reading An opportunity

Predicting The Playoff Roster, Take 1

With September fast approaching and the Yankees 6.5 games clear of the Red Sox in the Wild Card race, I thought it would be interesting to try and figure out what the playoff roster might look like if the Yankees hold on to a postseason spot. With some injuries and strong performances from young players muddying the waters, it is likely that I will be wrong, but hopefully we can come close to estimating the actual roster. Here are the locks: Position Players (12) Jorge Posada Francisco Cervelli Mark Teixeira Lance Berkman Robinson Cano Derek Jeter Alex Rodriguez Brett Gardner Continue reading Predicting The Playoff Roster, Take 1

Does It Matter Who Your Manager Is?

This is an interestig article by Aaron Gleeman at Hardball Talk, and I encourage you to read the whole thing, as well as the reporting by the St. Louis Dispatch underlying it. The gist is that Tony LaRussa and St. Louis centerfielder Colby Rasmus appear to be feuding, that Rasmus isn’t playing even though he says he’s healthy and the Cardinals have to play catch-up to win a playoff berth, and that respected beat writers in St. Louis are speculating matter-of-factly that either LaRussa or Rasmus will leave town before next season.

Obviously, if this is true, it’s a very big deal for the Cardinals. And if either Rasmus or LaRussa really do have to go after this season, the Cardinals are out of their minds if it takes more than 10 seconds to make that decision. Rasmus is a 23 year old who plays plus defense in CF and has a career .258/.326/.447 line, though this season he’s hitting .268/.352/.501. This is the sort of guy the Cardinals are going to have to have in the lineup as much as possible if they expect to make the playoffs and, organizationally, he’s an important building block for the team going forward. Whatever you think of Tony LaRussa as a manager, there’s no way he’s more valuable to a baseball team than Colby Rasmus. Continue reading Does It Matter Who Your Manager Is?

Ten Things I've Learned In Three Months, Part 1

I hope that everyone had as amazing a summer as I did. I love the outdoors, and couldn’t think of a better way to spend the season than out in the woods. One of the downsides of being in the woods is that I don’t have much baseball information, especially minor league information, coming my way. And boy, did I miss a lot. The past three months may have been the best half-season ever for the Yankees minor league system. Good news proliferated through a system that needed some good news pretty badly around the time I had left. It came in leaps Continue reading Ten Things I've Learned In Three Months, Part 1